Banks and kinds of plastic

So I have saved a few dollars and would like to know a good bank to save my money in. I am also considering sending money to my family in Europe. They have Citibank there and that is whom they do their banking with. Should I go with Citibank also or with another local bank?


I don’t think Citibank Taiwan has your typical “consumer banking” anymore. They’re mostly commercial now. If they do have any consumer banking services left, you can bet that the money requirement to open an account would be extremely steep. Citibank is a bank for hi-net worth folks of which I’m not :slight_smile:.

The top 3 banks in Taiwan are:

  1. Bank of Taiwan
  2. Taiwan Cooperative Bank
  3. Land Bank

Do a search here in this forum for ‘Citibank’ before you open an account there.

If you have foreign currency forget about “saving” here, the interest rates are pathetic.

I don’t have foreign currency but I would like to save in a foreign currency namely, Euro’s. Also I don’t want my money to be in Taiwan, some of it yes but the majority of it will be in another country. I have family in Europe and they deal with Citibank and I have been told that they can open an account for me to send the money to. Should I go with Citibank or a local such as the ones mentioned by Isieh,

The top 3 banks in Taiwan are:

  1. Bank of Taiwan
  2. Taiwan Cooperative Bank
  3. Land Bank

I have heard of them, well seen them on my scootering around town but don’t to much of the banks in this country. I have only been here a few short months.


I have been with two banks (in Kaohsiung) the Farmers Bank and E-Sun. With both of them I fond the service from poor to mediocre. I left the Farmers Bank after they gave me the wrong US Currency for my trip to Bali (see my post in the

I think First Commercial Bank is in that top three list somewhere as well… I also believe that the Bank of Taiwan and Land Bank merged a few years back. Taiwan Cooperative Bank is one I’ve never heard of. I suppose things have changed, but FCB is really good also regardless if they are or aren’t in the top three anymore.

Thanks for the information. It seems like I will go the HSBC route according to John they fit all my needs I would to have satisfied.



I have ended up with two bank accounts in Taiwan at different banks (so far) and so two ATM cards. One of the ATM cards has only a decorative face and does not appear to be a credit card in any way. The other ATM card has Maestro and Cirrus logos on it (ATM networks). Neither seems to be a check card type of ATM card.

What I want to know is whether any ATM cards issued in Taiwan function like “check cards” in the U.S., meaning, are they accepted by all merchants who would accept MasterCard or VISA and the purchase price is deducted directly from your bank account?

Provided “check cards” do in fact exist here, does one have to do anything special to get it at the bank, or do they automatically issue them?

Finally, does the presence of a MasterCard or VISA logo on the ATM card alone signify that it is a check card vs. simple ATM card?



Those cards are called ‘debit’ cards In the Uk.

No, they basically don’t exist here in ANY form that I am aware of.

Does anyone know why?


A friend of mine just got a new card from ICBC that carries the visa logo. He didn’t ask for it, that’s just how it is. It’s not a real credit card, it doesn’t have an embossed number or, more importantly, the 3-digit security code on the back so he can’t buy goods on the internet with it.

I don’t know if he’s tried to buy anything with it yet in a shop, but will let you know when I see him next.

I sa a news report a wjile back about the transaction costs for debit cards being much higher than for credit cards, at least for small purchases. That might explain why they’re not so prevalent here.

There was also a discussion a while back about TW-issued cards not working at all overseas, not even in ATMs.

My two ATM cards (different banks) do not function like this, they are just for ATM use. Dunno if other banks / cards offer such.

ATM cards with PLUS sign work in theory in an overseas ATM (if those have a PLUS sign, too), but the function is often disabled for foreigners (like at TaipeiBank :fume: ).

Check cards (US) or Debit cards (Cdn/UK) do exist here in Taiwan. I know because I have one. Some banks are nicer than others and will offer it if you ask when you open an account. Debit cards usually have a VISA logo and a holographic picture AND an expiry date. You only need the numbers on the front of the card and the expiry date to purchase anything. When purchasing things online though make sure the site takes debit cards because some do not. I would not use Taiwanese debit cards overseas for the same reason I never used my US check card in Canada or vice versa – exchange rate and security. Security being the bigger issue…I’d hate to come back from someplace and find someone cleaned out my account. At least with a credit card there’s some protection.

I am planning to get a Amex gold credit card for myself soon. As no other bank will give it to me without a gaurnator.So basically i dont have much choice.But still if anyone of you could tell me what all benefits and discounts,pros and cons etc are there for the same.Actually i did ask the bank but due to language problem i dont really know much!

It’s just a credit card. But like most credit cards, if you buy an airline ticket with it, you get extra insurance coverage. I already forget how much.

There’s a hefty fee attached: NT2500 a year, though I think that’s for the charge card, not credit card. Rewards points can be spent on a limited range of products. You can also convert them to air miles, but there’s a very restricted list of airlines here in Taiwan. You get a priority service number, too.

Amex cards were originally designed for business people. The premise being that they needed a univerally recognized marque anywhere they went, and their company woulf pay the bill according to its terms.

Amex green, gold, platinum cards function based on the fact that you will pay the total amount due every billing period. If you start with a green Amex and do this for 1 year - they will upgrade you to a Gold card. If you have a Gold Card and play by their rules for their determined pweiod of time - they will invite you yo upgrade to a Platinum Card. (Which also gets you a pretty neat magazine.)

Amex also offers a card that functions like other credit cards - monthly installments, etc - I think, and I could be wrong, its referred to as their “Infinity Card.” It has its limits.

A unique feature of Amex cards is their built in purchase/guarantee coverage. Amex basically insures your purchase in addition to any warranty offered by the mechant or manufacturer. Its a good feature. Amex also can be advantaegeous with airline reservations and extras.

Amex also has some of the highest yearly fees of the industry. For some its worth it, for others its a negative.

This is a basic overview of Amex cards. Basically they expect you to pay everything off in each designated billing period.

It’s the only card beside their own that Costco will accept.

Hah! Yes, that’s why I got one.


Recently, I tried to take out money from a Hua Nan Bank ATM machine displaying the Plus symbol using my ATM card. I had taken out money previously no problems, using Hua Nan and many of the other banks displaying the Cirrus and Plus Interac symbols that N. American banks support.

The bank gave me the error “Inter Bank Transfer Busy”, and spit out my card, and did not give me an error piece of paper. and went to its normal default screen. I was like ok…and my friend told me its normal and I should try later, as my bank in Canada (CIBC) probably busy for some reason. I try the next day from a different Hua Nan Bank machine and it works fine. Yet, when I check my bank account, I notice a transaction occuring both days, each day for approx. $12,000NT (off by 1 Cdn dollar approx due to flutuating exchange rates).

I called my bank in Canada (CIBC) and they tell me they will have to do an investigation , but since its an international transfer, could take up to 90 days to investigate, and I really don’t want to wait this long to get my money back. Has anyone had a similar problem or know of any suggestions? I am scared to put my card in an ATM now…as I really can’t afford to lose any more money…


I had the same thing happen several years ago at a First Bank ATM. My wife went into the First Bank branch and they of course said nothing could be done. I filed a dispute with my bank back in the US and to their credit they issued me a provisional credit about a week later, though they were not required to in this case. A few months later I got a letter saying that the provisional credit would stand.